Edinburgh and Glasgow have become the latest UK airports to introduce full body scanners as part of their national roll-out. But how much do you know about how they work?
We set out to banish the myths surrounding these new machines which are now in use at Scotland’s busiest airports, as well as at Manchester and Heathrow, where they have been in use since 2010, by answering your top 10 questions regarding their use:
1) Why are body scanners being rolled out across the UK?
The roll-out is part of a series of steps being taken to heighten aviation security after the UK government carried out an in-depth review of procedures following an attempted terrorist attack on an airline to Detroit in 2009.
2) Who gets scanned?
Anyone who sets off the metal detector or raises another concern at airport security will need to be scanned while others may be chosen at random.
3) What do I have to do if I’m selected?
All you’re required to do is stand very still with your legs slightly apart and arms raised so the scanner can get a clear picture of your outline.
4) How long does it take?
Full body scanning only takes seconds and doesn’t usually cause any additional airport delays.
5) What will airport security staff be able to see?
Security officials will only be able to see a mannequin-type image – almost like a cartoon as pictured above. They cannot see bodily features or skin.
6) What are they looking for?
They are looking for contraband – which is typically anything not allowed on the flight and, in particular, any drugs, chemicals or weapons which could be concealed on or in your body.
7) What happens to the images afterwards?
The images are deleted immediately after the scan.
8) Can I refuse?
Having the scan is mandatory under the rules of the Department of Transport and anyone who refuses will not be allowed to board their flight.
9) What about radiation?
The scan is 100 per cent safe with less radiation emitted than the average mobile phone.
10) Where can I find out more?
Each of the airports operating body scanners has information leaflets tailored for passengers and which solve any unanswered questions regarding the procedure.
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Depending on the city you’re travelling from, international flights can take the best part of 12 hours – even when they’re non-stop. But if you don’t fancy spending the day or night with a crick in your neck and your legs squashed by the passenger in front, why not pay a little extra to get your holiday off to a flying start? You don’t want to arrive in Tokyo or Rio sore, jetlagged and grumpy.
If you’re confused by the wide choice of airline seats and classes on international flights and are worried about having an uncomfortable journey, perhaps you should be prepared what to expect for your money – it could help you book with confidence.
With this in mind, here’s our guide to what you can expect for your money when booking international flights:
Economy flights are a great budget option if you don’t mind tight seating and a very basic cabin service. Don’t expect much leg room or many free drinks. You will usually have to pay for anything over and above the basic service, such as alcohol and additional snacks.
• Premium Economy
Expect to pay around £100 more for Premium Economy, which guarantees reclining seats and extra leg room which can make all the difference to a comfortable journey and help you arrive refreshed and relaxed.
• Business Class
Business Class is at the top end of the market and will generally set you back up to five times more than Economy. Seats, which often recline flat, are fewer and more spaced out with ample leg room and a better standard of wining and dining and entertainment on board.
• First Class
Fly First Class if you want the ultimate in luxury and an unbeatable VIP service. Expect just a few seats in the cabin and to pay up to three times more than in Business Class.
But however, or wherever, you’re travelling, be sure to change your currency before you reach the airport, where you’re likely to incur extra costs, including commission and hidden charges.
By shopping around well in advance, at the likes of MyTravelMoney.co.uk, you could make some serious savings to give you extra cash for the trip.
As revellers across Scotland are still trying to get the mud out of their clothing, cars and hair after the weekend’s swampfest that was T in the Park, we thought it time to bring you our line-up of remaining British summer festivals – and how to guarantee a great time despite the wet weather.
Take a peek at our favourite festival line-ups still to come:
T in the Park, Balado (Kinross, Scotland) – Sadly, if you weren’t there at the weekend then you’ve missed this year’s T in the Park at Balado but the good news is that tickets for 2013 go on sale towards the end of this week. This year saw the likes of Jessie J, Emili Sande, Simple Minds, Keane, Kasabian, Happy Mondays, Rizzle Kicks and Nicky Minaj take to stage so the chances are that next year’s line up will be just as fab or even better. Get in quick for the cheapest tickets and keep checking the T in the Park website for updates. But in the meantime, you can catch all the highlights on BBC iPlayer with Greg James and Edith Bowman.
Latitude, Henham Park, Southwold (Sunrise Coast, Suffolk) – If you hunt around hard enough, you’ll still be able to get tickets for Latitude Festival which kicks off on Thursday, 12 July. It’s set to have more than 10 different arenas spanning all manner of genres, from music and cabaret, to children’s, theatre and comedy so not just your average music festival. Some of the artists lined up for this weekend include legendary Mod Father Paul Weller, Elbow, Simple Minds, Alabama Shakes and Rufus Wainwright and his Band.
Bestival, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight – Bestival was awarded the Best Major Festival Award in 2010 and continues to be one of the highlights of the UK social calendar between 6 and 9 September. It promises a whole host of treats, including music from Florence and the Machine, Orbital, New Order, Hot Chip and the Friendly Fires. Not only that, but there will be Ballroom and Bollywood Fields – and you can still get tickets! Sounds great, doesn’t it? Now read on for our top 10 tips to having a good time despite the British weather…
Top 10 Tips for Surviving Summer Festivals
1) Invest in a good pair of wellies or walking boots – and don’t leave home without them! 2012 will probably go down in history as having of the wettest British summers in history so forget nice shoes, flip-flops or even trainers. Only knee-high boots will do!
2) Ditch the bikini or vest top for something more practical like wet weather gear. We’re serious – if you have waders or any sort of fishing get-up like waterproof trousers then wear them because no matter how ridiculous you might look, you’ll be the one that’s laughing in the end. Layer up inside too – you’ll find it’s so much easier to take clothes off and cool down than it is to heat up once you’re soaked through. You don’t want to end up one of the ones lying ill in a muddy field covered in a foil, hypothermic blanket from the A&E tent.
3) Don’t even think about taking bottles, cans or illegal substances because security and sniffer dogs will be on patrol and you’ll have wasted time and money only to watch your contraband being dumped in the last-minute bin. In some cases, you might even be refused entry or, even worse, arrested.
4) Take any essential medicines and, if you’re prone to headaches or migraines, make sure you pack your Paracetamol or Imigran as they won’t be available on-site. You don’t want to have to make a trip to the emergency tent to see the paramedics after forgetting your inhaler, Epiphen or Insulin either.
5) Save the make-up and false eyelashes for the clubs – unless, like some T in the Parkers, you’re working the Barb look, intent on seeing Nicky Minaj. Trust us, the make-up will end up dripping off your nose and chin and you’ll look a sorry sight in the rain. Leave the sun cream at home too.
6) Ladies, load your pockets with baby wipes and hand sanitiser because, let’s face it, there sure as heck won’t be any left in the loos by the time you’ve stood in the hour-long queue. They’re always great for a quick freshen up before your chips and curry sauce anyway.
7) Make sure you take lots of cash and hide it in an inside pocket along with your mobile phone – away from the rain and wandering hands. Festivals are never cheap and you can expect to pay around £8 for a ride or attraction, £9 for Nachos and around £4 for a drink. Lads, once you get there, stock up on beer tokens to help beat the queues as you go.
8) If you’re travelling with a group of people, make sure you pre-arrange a meeting point in case you get split up in the crowds – especially if you’re travelling home together. Another idea is to get a big, easily identifiable flag which your companions can spot from a distance.
9) Don’t forget to buy a programme early on. They might be expensive but they’re great souvenirs and you don’t want to miss a trick by wandering around aimlessly trying to find the right music tent.
10) Probably the best piece of advice we can give you is – don’t camp, particularly in the rain. Yes, it’s fun if you’re young and the weather’s great but, by pitching up in the mud and rain, you’re just asking for a chill – not to mention inviting the likelihood of someone defecating in your tent, stealing your belongings and urinating on it in the middle of the night. What can we say? You’ve been warned!
Above all, enjoy your festival experience – it’s what the British summer is all about. For more festivals, dates and confirmed acts, visit The Festival Calendar.
If you think the Grand Canyon is just a big pile of red rock, think again! It’s listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is certainly a sight to behold. There are also plenty of other things to see along the way so make sure you book the right tour so you can take in this natural wonder from all the top vantage points. Follow our fail-safe, three-step guide to make sure you don’t miss a thing:
1) Head for the North Rim
First of all, check out the North Rim. You’ll find lots of tour operators laying on excursions to the North Rim, from which you can get a fantastic view of the expanse of the Canyon and won’t feel you’re simply looking down into a big, rocky pit. At its highest point – otherwise known as Point Imperial at more than 8,800ft – you can clearly see the Painted Desert and Grand Canyon Park’s most easterly end. You can get there easily by driving up the long and winding road but most tour buses will do the hard work for you.
2) Check out the South Rim
There’s a free shuttle bus from Mather Point but it’s pretty easy to either walk, cycle or drive the short trail yourself – or you could even take a donkey ride! If you like walking, you can easily join other hikers on the Rim Trail which follows the rim round from Pipe Creek Vista to Hermits Rest and some parts are even accessible by wheelchair. The best view can be found from the observation station at Yavapai Point from which you’ll get panoramic views of the Canyon and the Colorado River. Once you’re done, take the Havasupai Heli-Hiking Tour over some of the most breathtaking views of the village of Supai and its idyll waterfalls.
3) Choose a themed hotel
As if a trip to visit the Grand Canyon wasn’t exciting enough, you can really add to your US adventure by staying in a Western-themed hotel that’s just a stone’s throw from the natural wonder itself. A trip to the Grand Canyon should conjure up images of cowboys, Indians and the OK Corral.
A stay in the Grand Hotel will put you firmly at the heart of the action, for example. It’s no more than a mile from the entrance of the Grand Canyon National Park and around nine miles of the Rim Trail. The hotel has a Wild West theme which extends to all of its rooms – complete with timber beams and moose heads. There’s even a saloon bar, swimming pool – although it’s much more modern – and shop. You’ll find bar tenders wearing Stetsons and evening entertainment with performers re-enacting rain dances, show-downs and stints on the bucking bronco.
But if The Grand Hotel is a little too close for comfort, try the Grand Canyon Hotel, Lodge & RV Park on for size – it’s just as authentic, if not more so, and is still within 30 minutes driving distance from the main entrance and Park. The Grand Canyon Hotel features only the best in South-western decor and hand-carved Native Indian furnishings. Some of its best selling points include being able to watch the sunset over the river gorge from your room balcony and its surprisingly lush and secluded gardens.
So what are you waiting for? Dig out your ten-gallon hat and don your holster because you’re now ready for an authentic country and western experience Grand Canyon style.
Enjoy – and don’t forget to change your British Pounds into US Dollars before you travel to get the most bang for your buck.
It’s official – the Olympic torch has left St Andrews and is on its way to Edinburgh.
Today, the flame embarks on a 145-mile journey through Scotland, flanked by 115 torchbearers, en route to the capital for a good, old knees-up at Edinburgh Castle.
It’ll make its way past Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument, Falkirk Wheel and the Forth Road Bridge before reaching its destination in the heart of Edinburgh.
But if you can’t manage to see the proceedings in person, join us on our journey as we take you through the highlights of Edinburgh as part of our own nod to this iconic city.
Here are our top 10 things to do in Edinburgh:
1) Edinburgh Castle
Top of our list is, of course, Edinburgh Castle. It’s impossible to visit the Scottish capital without visiting this majestic stronghold which overlooks the city. Even better if you can time your visit with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which, this year, runs from 3-25 August. The Lone Piper will send shivers up your spine as he gives you a glimpse of historic Scotland – playing the bagpipes from his vantage point of a turret on top of the castle.
2) Mary Kings Close
Take a tour underneath the city in the infamous close which was once sealed off because of its association with the plague. Relive the days of old and find out more about the Black Death, quacks, gardiloo and how black pudding was once made.
3) The Edinburgh Dungeon
If you like all things gruesome, then this one is right up your street. The Edinburgh Dungeon is home to scary rides, terrifying live shows and mock scenes of torture. It’s a great place to find out more about Victorian Britain, including grave robbers Burke and Hare, while having fun at the same time. Perfect for Horrible Histories lovers!
4) The Royal Museum
Find this huge museum, which is part of the National Museums of Scotland, on Chambers Street, just off the Royal Mile. It’s great value for money – mainly because it’s absolutely free! From mummies and ancient Egyptian artefacts to stuffed animals, volcanoes, science and more, it’s enough to keep youngsters entertained for hours.
5) Surgeon’s Hall
Anyone curious about anatomy will have a field day at Surgeon’s Hall, which showcases some amazing medical feats, not to mention more pickled gangrene and tumours than you can shake a stethoscope at. Discover the beginnings of forceps, ventouse, dentistry and many more medical procedures on a private tour.
6) The Stand Comedy Club
Head to Leith for a good gut-full of belly laughs at The Stand, which regularly hosts some of the best comedians in the UK, like past performers Russell Howard and John Bishop. It’s the best venue in town for live comedy seven nights a week.
7) The Burke & Hare Murder Tour
Book this 90-minute tour from Westport Tours and you won’t be disappointed. Join your guide on a grisly walking tour of the grave robbing duo’s famous haunts as he or she talks you through the story of Burke and Hare. But be warned… wear sensible shoes!
8) Museum of Childhood
This small but perfectly formed museum sits on the Royal Mile, just a stone’s throw from the castle and celebrates Victorian childhood. Marvel at old, china dolls; traditional spinning tops and some age-old branding that we know and love. It’s a great place to relive your youth.
9) Dynamic Earth
Take a voyage of discovery at the gigantic dome that is Dynamic Earth, which celebrates biodiversity in all its glory. See the indoor rainforest recreated perfectly and find out more about hot springs, climate change, glaciers and more.
10) Edinburgh Zoo
Last but not least, Edinburgh Zoo – which is home to probably the most famous pandas in the world: Sunshine and Sweetie, who need no introduction.
Best Edinburgh Restaurants:
Amicus Apple – for affordable pub grub in a contemporary lounge-type atmosphere
Amarone – for great Italian cuisine
Ignite Bengali & Indian Restaurant – for the best North Indian dining in town
Shezan Tandoori Restaurant – for the finest Punjabi cuisine
Tex Mex 2 – for Mexican on a budget
With six American, two Canadian and two British airline carriers offering regular scheduled flights to Bermuda , it’s never been easier to head for the sun.
But if you’re not sure who to get on board with, read up on which airline flies to Bermuda from where and the extent of its services first:
Getting a first bag on free and priority boarding are not to be sniffed at with Delta, which flies directly from the UK to Bermuda. What’s more, the airline has a great website which makes it really easy to book.
2) American Airlines
American Airlines operates a direct non-stop service to Bermuda from JFK New York and General Edward Lawrence Logan International in Boston once a day. If you’re already in the States, this airline is probably one of your best options.
3) Continental Airlines
This airline, which offers great late deals and lots of added information, flies daily – direct from NYC Newark. Again, only good if you don’t mind flying to the US first and changing carriers.
4) AirTran Airways
AirTran offers a daily non-stop service to Bermuda from Baltimore-Washington in the USA since summer 2011.
Flights from JFK New York and from Boston jet off once a day and are perfect if you don’t mind connecting or making a pit-stop in the Big Apple first.
6) Delta Airlines
Delta does a great daily service from William B. Hartsfield Atlanta and General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airports in the USA.
US Airways flies directly, of course, from the US airports of Baltimore-Washington, General Edward Lawrence Logan, Charlotte-Douglas, Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia, La Guardia (New York) and Washington DC – although some of the flights are seasonal.
8) WestJet Airlines
This airline, which celebrates its 16th birthday this year, is only suitable if you’re flying to Bermuda from Canada but flies direct from Toronto regularly.
9) Air Canada
If you’re flying from the States, Air Canada is a really good option. It’s the largest full-service airline in Canada and flies between Bermuda and Toronto daily and from Halifax in the USA once a week. It’s the largest provider of flights between the US and Canada and is pretty big on good service and quality.
10) British Airways
The UK carrier is, of course, one of the world’s most popular airlines and flies between Bermuda and London Gatwick between the peak holiday months of March and October. Don’t expect to get overly cheap flights however, as the provider prides itself on high end service.
Whichever airline you fly with, make sure you do your research on currency as well. MyTravelMoney.co.uk can help you get the best deals – all day, every day.